The Top Nutritional Change to Make Today
A catchy headline, right? But in all seriousness, the topic I'm going to delve into today is one of great importance: vegetable oils.
I was listening to the Balanced Bites Podcast episode 286 the other day (listen here) where Dr. Cate Shanahan was interviewed by Diane Sanfilippo, one of the hosts of the podcast. The topic of the podcast was on fat and cholesterol, and the ladies dove deep into a really great discussion about how awful vegetable oils really can be to our health. They affect our inflammation levels, cholesterol, nutrient status, and so much more!
Vegetable oils haven't been around for very long compared to healthier, more natural forms of fat like butter, lard, olive oil, etc. And the name "vegetable" oils is kind of a misnomer - the so-called vegetable oils are actually derived from grains, not vegetables, which is part of the reason that they can be do detrimental to our health.
When you think about how a fat is produced, think about the difference between squeezing an olive and squeezing a grain kernel. Which one will more easily produce oil? The olive of course! So, in order to actually get an oil from these grains, there is quite a process that is involved, a process that includes heat, chemicals, bleaching, deguming, and so much more. It's actually quite scary! Plus, once the oil makes it through the entire processing method, it's basically rancid or damaged, so by the time we add it to food or cook with it, the damage is transferred to our bodies. Not a pleasant thought!
As mentioned, vegetable oils affect our inflammation levels, cholesterol, nutrient status, and so much more. They affect the health of our gut, interfere with the breaking down of nutrients, and really are at the root of heart disease and strokes - not saturated fat as so commonly thought. And all of this is due to the processing method mentioned above.
Vegetable oils contribute to about 30% of the daily caloric intake of the average American, according to Dr. Shanahan in the podcast interview. So, you can bet unless you are consciously going out of your way to avoid them, they are playing a huge role in your daily dietary intake. Now, the key here is that vegetable oils/by-products aren't just found in their oil form - they're found in every packaged product on the shelf: condiments, roasted nuts, deli meat, cereal, protein/energy/granola bars, drinks, powders, and so much more! Plus, 99% of restaurants or eateries use vegetable oils for their cooking because they're cheap and readily accessible (even the Whole Food's salad bar uses canola oil)!
So what can we do about it? Luckily, the transition is pretty simple and lateral - sub one fat for another. Get rid of canola, corn, soy, safflower, cottonseed, and vegetable oils and the products that contain them as well. And while you're at it, toss anything with the ingredient "partially hydrogenated oil." That is a code word for trans fats, which are the chemically altered form of vegetables oils. They're even worse than the oils themselves!
Then, add in the healthy cooking fats - butter, ghee, lard, tallow, duck fat, coconut oil, and olive oil. It's that simple!
It seems crazy that even with all the research that is continually coming out about the damaging effects of vegetable oils, the mainstream nutritional standards recommend them over saturated fats. It is completely backwards and asinine! Be the one that doesn't fall into that lie or trap - make the simple switch and eat lots of real, whole, saturated fats found in nature that we've always eaten, and you'll be much better off!